There will be a game six.
Former Cape Breton West Islander star Avery Warner scored with 2:06 left in the first overtime period as the Strait Pirates staved off elimination and forced a game six in their best-of-seven first round Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League playoff series versus the Antigonish Farmers’ Mutual Junior Bulldogs.
Warner was fed a loose puck around the Bulldogs’ net during a goal-mouth scramble and, before Antigonish goaltender Jared Green could get back into position, snapped it home for the winner.
Bryce Reynolds and Christian Papineau earned assists on the play and, for Papineau, it was his third assist in the 4-3 win by the Pirates. He earned helpers on the Pirates’ first and third goals, both in the first period, as they built a 3-0 lead, before the Bulldogs started battling back with two in the first and one in the second.
Cullen MacEachern, captain Matthew Morgan, on a power-play, and Hunter Woodland scored for the Pirates, while Olan Spears picked up two assists and Josh Foster and Randon MacKinnon one each.
Defenceman Jacob Nobbe assisted on two Bulldog goals which were scored by Tyler Dyke and Fearghus MacDonald.
Bulldogs' captain Devin MacLaughlin, on a brilliant solo effort, scored the Bulldogs’ other goal while Andrew Boyle, Connor Fraser, Spencer Barron and Ryan Kennedy picked up assists.
Cody Smith made 29 saves, including a couple of critical ones in OT, to earn the win in the Pirates' goal while Green, the player of the game in game four 3-1 Antigonish win, made 19 stops.
The series now shifts back to the Antigonish Arena where the Bulldogs will, once again, try and punch their ticket to round two and a match-up versus the Kameron Jr. Miners, who eliminated the Pictou County Scotians in five games, in the other Sid Rowe Division playoff round.
In the Fred Fox Division playoffs, the East Hants Penguins swept the Cole Harbour Colts 4-0, and the other series could end up in a sweep as well as the Sackville Blazers lead the Liverpool Privateers 3-0, with game four tonight in Liverpool.
Game six Sunday (March 10) evening at the arena starts at 7:30 p.m.